Bangkok’s Yellow Line extension plan on ice after investor apathy

Construction News

Bangkok’s Yellow Line extension plan on ice after investor apathy

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) has put on hold the plan to extend the Yellow Line electric train route as it has attracted no interest from potential investors, according to the authority’s governor, Pakapong Sirikantaramas.

The proposed plan to build a 2.6-km extension linking the Yellow Line’s Lat Phrao station to the Ratchayothin area was put forth by the Eastern Bangkok Monorail (EBM), a subsidiary of Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, as a link between the BTS’s Green Line and the MRT Blue Line.

It was not included in the Mass Rapid Transit Master Plan in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (M-Map), a 20-year plan for developing primary and secondary public transport networks (2010-2029).

Many discussions have taken place between the MRTA and the EBM regarding the investment in the proposed extension. Details on extension line construction investment had been considered before the Yellow Line went into commercial service on June 3.

The investment plan has now been put on the back burner as no private investors have responded to the MRTA’s proposed extension project within the given time, said Mr Pakapong.

Since its launch, the 30.4-km Yellow Line has been serving on average 40,000 passengers a day on weekdays and 28,000 a day on weekends, which is lower than the daily ridership of 70,000 a day during the line’s free trial.

The MRTA has paid 2.5 billion baht in support of the Yellow Line’s civil engineering work in the first year of the Line going into full operation, according to Mr Pakapong.

He said MRTA will be paying this amount annually over the next 10 years. The agency will also begin to receive payments from the sharing of revenue with the line’s operator when the Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) reaches 10%.

Mr Pakapong said it is not known at this point when the EIRR will hit the 10% mark during the 30-year contract with the concessionaire.

In other news, Mr Pakapong said that the MRTA’s Pink Line, linking Khae Rai Station to Min Buri Station, has now had its trial run on the first part of the 34.5-kilometre-long straddle monorail.

As the MRTA requires speedy construction, the Northern Bangkok Monorail (NBM), which was granted the concession to operate the Pink Line, has been conducting inspections of the Line’s civil works, electricity, and safety features.

The Pink Line is expected to be in service between the end of 2023 and the beginning of next year after receiving certification from independent civil engineers.